USAID/Southern Africa Mission Director John Groarke, Regional Economic Growth Office (REGO) Director Thomas Rojas, Agriculture and Trade Advisor Takele Tassew, Trade and Investment Hub Activity Manager for Malawi Eluphy Nyirenda, and Feed the Future Agricultural Diversification Project (Ag Div) COR John Macy, joined by representatives from the Trade and Investment Hub, recently conducted field visits in Lilongwe, Malawi, to Hub partner companies and organizations.
The group met with the Agricultural Commodities Exchange for Africa (ACE) and toured its RAB Enterprises partner warehouses and processing facilities as well as meeting with the National Bank of Malawi (NBM). Abbie Morris, Program Manager for ACE, Bashir Sama, General Manager for RAB Group, and Shadreck Malenga, Business Development Manager for the National Bank of Malawi, led discussions on warehouse financing, storage expansion, and structured trade.
The Trade and Investment Hub worked closely with ACE and the National Bank of Malawi (NBM) to facilitate the EUR 30.0 million financing by the European Investment Bank (EIB) of agri-storage in Malawi as part of the development of the Warehouse Receipts System (WRS). WRS allows farmers to store grain in accredited warehouses and sell their harvest when prices are favorable, using their warehouse receipt to access finance for seed and other expenses in the meantime. The initiative enhances the access to finance for private sector companies and primarily targets the development of agricultural storage capacity in the country. Through this facility, the National Bank of Malawi will increase smallholder farmers’ access to quality grain storage facilities.
The ACE is engaged extensively with private sector and development partners to deliver agricultural marketing and financial services to farmers, farmer organisations and micro, small and medium enterprises that define the rural economy of Malawi. ACE provides structured trade services to those working in agriculture. As a service provider, ACE focuses on market information, trade facilitation and the warehouse receipt system (WRS), which offers access to collateral finance and to secure storage.